According to an article in the Star-Telegram, the health insurance industry is offering to make several concessions in exchange for the government requiring all Americans to signup for private health insurance
The article said:
For the first time, the health-insurance industry offered Tuesday to curb its controversial practice of charging higher premiums to people with a history of medical problems. The offer from America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a potentially significant shift in the debate over reforming the nation’s healthcare system to rein in costs and cover an estimated 48 million uninsured people. It was contained in a letter to key senators.
The health insurance companies are hoping to dissuade the government from creating a rival public health insurance plan that will cut into their profits. Currently, health insurance companies charge customers with preexisting conditions very high premiums. The health insurance premiums are so high that most people cannot afford to pay for individual health insurance plans if they have a preexisting condition.
Although the health insurance companies are offering to stop their practice of higher premiums for the sick, it would still charge more based on factors such as age, place of residence, family size and benefits package. As we often discuss on this blog, medical debt is one of the leading causes of bankruptcy. Many Americans succumb to crushing medical debts because they lack health insurance. A universal health insurance plan may help alleviate medical debt; but if done incorrectly is could add another expensive bill to Americans’ already strained budgets.
Any deal with private health insurance companies that require Americans to signup with private health insurance companies must come with controls on premiums because even the healthiest and youngest of us already face high health insurance premiums.